Saturday 15 December 2018

Paul Murphy's immaturity a disservice to real protests

Deputy Paul Murphy (centre).
Deputy Paul Murphy (centre).
Fionnan Sheahan

Fionnan Sheahan

Not everyone was born with a silver spoon in their mouth.

Not everyone came from a privileged, middle class background and grew up in an affluent area.

Not everyone got to go to fee-paying schools and on to university.

Some people didn't grow up in a nice professional family where high quality education was a given.

Some people didn't leave the education system with qualifications.

Some people didn't have opportunities at their fingertips.

Some people did bravely go back to do adult education courses, like the 60 people who graduated from An Cosan in Tallaght on Saturday.

Their graduation day in their community was hijacked by demonstrators, who appeared to be more interested in causing a disturbance than making their presence felt.

In the middle of the rumpus, which he claimed was a "peaceful protest", was the new local TD, Paul Murphy of the Anti-Austerity Alliance.

Tanaiste Joan Burton suggested yesterday Mr Murphy didn't quite understand the background of those whose graduation he disturbed.

"I don't know if he appreciates the effort that people put in," she said.

Mr Murphy is new to the area as he has never run for office there before his by-election victory last month.

The 31-year-old grew up in Goatstown, on the southside of Dublin, the son of a Mars company executive.

He attended St Kilian's, a fee-paying German school in Clonskeagh, and the fee-paying Institute of Education.

He went on to study law in UCD, coming top of his class.

Nothing wrong with him discovering left-wing idealism after benefiting from his bourgeois upbringing - the country has a fine tradition of Champagne Socialists.

But Mr Murphy is educated enough to know the difference between legitimate peaceful protest and menacing intimidation.

The Anti-Austerity Alliance TD doesn't accept any responsibility for the denial of free movement to the deputy leader of the country.

"I did not organise this protest. This protest was organised by local residents at extremely short notice."

Yet he was happy enough to turn up with his megaphone and lead the chanting.

Murphy denies those who were banging on the Tanaiste's car and blocking her were in any way out of line.

"All the protesters were peaceful all of the time."

Despite saying he was not an organiser, he claims: "No, we didn't lose control of the demonstration."

The immature carry on of Mr Murphy does a disservice to those who wish to legitimately and peacefully voice their concerns about water charges.

The vast majority of protestors are law-abiding citizens.

There is a responsibility on him as a democrat to set an example and show some leadership and not denigrate their efforts.

Irish Independent

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